The Department is committed to a student-centred active-learning approach which aims to develop students’ mathematical understanding and research skills and increase their confidence and capacity to work as independent learners. Mathematical activities cover the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and Framework for Mathematics.
The Department chooses not to use a published text book scheme which would curtail creativity and tend to nullify students’ views of mathematics as a subject where teachers plan day-to-day lessons to meet their varying needs; we use the Mathematics Enhancement Project materials as a framework for the teaching programme and resources.
We use a range of teaching methods that enable students to develop at their own pace. Each teacher has a planned approach to the particular classroom activity / learning that is to take place. Often this will take the form of the teacher encouraging students to explore a situation that is presented and described to them; then, to consolidate what has been discovered, the teacher will ensure that all students have grasped the “core” mathematical ideas – this will usually take place via whole class or small group discussions where students are invited to contribute what they have found out. In doing this, the teacher learns how much support is needed and he/she can then plan and set the agenda for the next part of the topic / activity. Throughout the work, the teacher monitors which elements of mathematics are encountered and the progress achieved. This approach enables a wide range of mathematics to be explored by students at their own level and pace. Students are encouraged to develop (their own) systematic and logical approaches to problems.
To develop their ability to progress with confidence, students work both independently and co-operatively within small groups: in both situations, students are encouraged to seek advice, support and inspiration from the teacher and from peers. Teacher discussion of mathematics with a whole class, with a group, or with individuals, is a powerful and effective agent in promoting a good classroom environment. Often students have the opportunity to share their learning with others in a summing-up / consolidation led by the teacher. Students are encouraged to seek teacher help out of lesson times should they need it.